Our third day in Buenos Aires

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March 21st 2016
Published: April 11th 2016
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We went down for breakfast this morning and it has to be recorded that it was a big disappointment. The breakfast buffet offered by the America Towers was easily the worst breakfast that we have had during this trip. The juice was watered down, the only fruit on offer was some very tired looking fruit salad, the only cereal was cornflakes with tepid milk and the coffee was undrinkable. Ha, and if you wanted toast, the toasters were the slowest toasters ever. John stood over the toaster for ages and finally decided to eat his toast dried out on the surface, but with no colour whatsoever.

Our itinerary for today said 'Enjoy a day at leisure to relax and explore the grand city of Buenos Aires. You may choose to hit the shops of Calle Florida and the Palermo Districts or explore the city's wealth of museums and art galleries ...'. Just one small problem - only one of BA's museums/art galleries is open on a Monday and, of course, it is the one that is furthest away from our hotel. So, the shops it is then!!

Quite a few members of our group made their way en masse to the Gallerias Pacifico. It was very different walking around in the city this morning compared with Saturday when we ventured out and about on our own. The city is certainly much more lively on a week/work day. Would you believe that we walked into the shopping centre and 'Electric Blue' by Icehouse was playing? Just love hearing great Aussie music being played when we are in a foreign land ... and not at home in the Great Southern Land!

Bernie, Meredith and I managed to explore all of the levels of the Gallerias Pacifico without being tempted to make a purchase. Prices here in Argentina are certainly not any cheaper than at home. In fact, due to their rampant inflation rate (I believe we were told that it is currently about 40%!!), prices are probably a little higher than we would pay in Oz.

The three of us decided to make our way to Café Tortoni for our lunch. Established in 1858, it is the the oldest café in BA. When we arrived we were greeted by a door man. For a moment I was a bit worried that it was going to be far too posh for us! However, my fears were quickly allayed when we were whisked away to a table without any of the staff actually looking down their noses at us. I always get a bit intimidated going in to grand cafés, hotels, restaurants, etc! We ordered individual pizzas which were very tasty and just about the right size for one although I admit that I did have Bernie finish off mine, but that was because we girls really wanted to have room to finish off with coffees and churros.

Hmmn, you know how sometimes you anticipate a culinary experience so much and then when you actually eat said culinary delight it doesn't quite measure up? Well, this was one of those occasions - the coffee was pretty ordinary and the churros were dried out. I think they must cook them in bulk and then keep them in a warmer because they certainly didn't seem like they had been freshly cooked. But I ate two anyway, you know, just to check if maybe the second one lived up to expectation!! Nope, Bernie and Meredith both agreed, ALL the churros on the plate were overdone.

From the cafe we set out to show Meredith the Plaza de los Congresos. As we walked along the Avenue de Mayo we picked up a stray dog. We have no idea what we did - none of us made eye contact with it or spoke to it - but it decided that we looked like some good humans to be with. We crossed a number of streets, all of us steadfastly ignoring the dog in the hope it would transfer its attentions to someone else. But no, it kept on following us, much to our increasing discomfort.

Because we are all doggy people we felt very uncomfortable being accompanied by a stray dog that doesn't have a family to look after it. All over South America we have felt concerned and upset about the stray dogs. We reached the National Congress with said stray still in our wake. There were other dogs, with and without owners, in the plaza so 'our' stray was distracted and we thought we could make good our escape. Damn it, it wasn't that distracted. We thought the dog was going to follow us all the way back to the hotel, but at some point it lost interest in us and it was gone. Just as mysteriously as it had joined us, it left us.

The street that Bernie chose for us to head back towards the hotel was a street full of music stores. We thought of our friends Loren and Gidge and speculated that Gidge would have loved being on a street filled with music stores ... and that Loren would have had trouble keeping him out of them! When we reached the hotel where we were happy to put our feet up for while after clocking up another respectable step tally for the day.

On the itinerary for tonight: 'enjoy a lively tango dinner experience - an absolute must while you are in Argentina. Don't forget your dancing shoes, we'll participate in a tango lesson too!' Oh yay, sounds way too cheesy. Well, our tango lesson was hilarious. Anyone who knows Bernie, knows that he's not a dancer ... at all ... ever. And, apart from some dabbling with line dancing back when line dancing was very popular, I'm not much of a dancer either. Ahem, even with only eight steps to master, the tango was beyond us.

After our toe tangling tango lesson we headed downstairs to the theatre restaurant. Our food was included in our tour, but we had to pay for our drinks. Goodness, another day, another three course meal and yet another bottle of red wine. We thought now that we were off the boat that we might be able to cut down on our calorie intake a bit?! Ha, ha.

The show commenced with some music played by a pianist, a bassist, a violinist and two young men playing piano accordions. Much as I am reluctant to admit it, I quite enjoyed their opening set.

The band continued to play and the tango dancers came out to strut their stuff. The tango is a very dramatic dance and the dancers were very, very proficient ... and very colourful. I think the men may have only been changing their ties, but the ladies were changing their frocks and shoes for each new dance! The men's ties seemed to consistently match their partners shoes though.

The performance also included a male and a female vocalist ... singing in Spanish. Even when the female vocalist performed her big solo 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' we didn't get so much as a verse in English. Still a very moving performance though. We also had another group playing more traditional Argentinian music featuring guitars, drum and, my favourite instrument, the pan pipes. Actually, I don't mind pan pipes in context, but I really hate popular music covered by pan pipes - think 'Can You Hear The Drums Fernando?' played on pan pipes. And so many venues here have had pan pipe Muzak playing. In fact, I think they have all been playing the same pan pipe covers CD!! If I hear 'Mandy' one more time on pan pipes ...

Anyhow, the most notable part of this folk music performance was the guy on the drum! He had long, flowing hair and was wearing a tabard thingy that made him look like a musketeer. I promptly nicknamed him d'Artagnan and declared him the best part of the evening ... with apologies to Bernie. Of course, when I fell for Bernie, he had long, flowing locks too!! Oh, I nearly forgot to mention the man with four balls that Gina had kept telling us was a notable part of the night's entertainment. A man joined the folk quartet with two balls on ropes. He whirled his balls around at great speed and in increasingly complex patterns and only stuffed up once - Bernie said I had to mention that he hit himself in the head with his balls - but, like a true professional, he gave the audience a rueful grin and got his balls going again.

I did enjoy the night's entertainment, even as cheesy as it was, but it was probably just a bit too much of it all as we had a very late night. We didn't leave the venue until around midnight so, by the time we were to bed, it was well after that.

Steps 15,646 (11.78km)

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